Spicy Harvest Pumpkin Soup

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I first made this soup back in the fall when pumpkin-flavored food and drinks were popping up left and right. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin beer – you name it. I enjoy a pumpkin spice latte as much as the next person, but I was craving something a little more savory. Though pumpkin season is now over, this soup is still perfect for the remaining cold winter nights that lay ahead.

A few years ago, I was eating dinner at a friend’s house and his father served us homemade pumpkin soup. I was hesitant at first, thinking it would taste something like liquid pumpkin pie, but to my surprise it was savory, filling, and a bit spicy (so if you’re not crazy about sweet pumpkin-flavored things, this might actually be for you). I remembered how much I liked it and decided to make my own. It’s a nice change from your everyday chicken noodle or minestrone, and pumpkin is full of fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins – not to mention low calorie. (You get bonus points if you can guess how many times I say “pumpkin” in this post.)
I based my recipe off of one I found on through foodgawker (find it here), but changed a few things to my liking. If you cook a fair amount, most of these ingredients are pantry staples, which makes this soup easy and convenient to whip up. This recipe yields about 4-6 servings, with roughly 140 calories per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tsp)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable stock to make it vegetarian)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 (15-oz) can pure pumpkin purée
  • ¼ – ½ cup half-and-half
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

The thing I like best about making soup is that you can taste it as you go along and make sure it is to your liking. If you’re unsure about how much spice you like, it’s always better to start out with less and add more as you go along. The amounts above are just base guidelines; I added more spice as I went along. I definitely recommend test-tasting it every few minutes if you’re picky about quality like I am.

Directions:

  1. In a large, non-stick cooking pot, melt butter and add onions. Cook until translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, cumin, ginger, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about one minute.
  2. Stir in chicken broth, pumpkin purée, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the soup from heat and allow to cool slightly. Once it’s cooled down, pour contents into a blender or large food processor.  Blend until smooth. Though waiting for it to cool down may be annoying, it’s a good idea – I was impatient and accidentally exploded burning hot soup onto my hands from our faulty blender.
  4. Return the blended soup to the pot and continue to cook on medium heat. Stir in cream, if desired. Cook until soup has warmed back up; serve with salt and pepper to taste.

The blog I found this recipe on suggests serving it with bleu cheese or pumpkin seeds. I served mine with cornbread, which I thought complimented the flavors nicely. A dollop of plain Greek yogurt would also be a nice addition. Since the recipe made extra, I refridgerated some. I warmed up some leftover soup and it tasted just as good as when it was fresh. I also froze some, but learned that freezing cream-based soup doesn’t heat up very well. The cream/pumpkin and water separated and it became lumpy and gag-worthy. Ew. Best to eat this dish when it’s fresh.

Enjoy!

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